Officer Holmes says a supervisor made him lie. But KCPD brass say he bungled a murder investigation.

The Cop Who Killed a Murder Case 

Officer Holmes says a supervisor made him lie. But KCPD brass say he bungled a murder investigation.

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Holmes explained that the "defectives," as he called them, wouldn't have been able to solve the case without a street officer like him. The detectives couldn't talk to the prostitutes and drug dealers the way he could. He hadn't received credit for solving the crime because the detectives were embarrassed, he said.

After their conversation with Holmes, St. Omer called KCPD Capt. Rick Smith. She asked that he get someone from the crime scene unit to go to the Landing and recover the bullets from Holmes.

St. Omer knew that an illegal search and hidden evidence could sink her case. She also knew that she was legally required to pass on what she'd learned to Raymond, Henderson's public defender. After she called Raymond, Circuit Judge Thomas Clark agreed to delay the trial while the attorneys examined the new evidence.

Meanwhile, the KCPD's Department of Internal Affairs opened an investigation. Holmes' powers of arrest were revoked, and he was assigned to a desk job, the unglamorous task of writing down the public's police reports. Holmes says one sergeant told him that his troubles would go away if he just resigned. Holmes remained resolute, certain that he would be vindicated.

During interviews with IA investigators, Hutcheson claimed he didn't remember telling Holmes to enter Henderson's apartment. He said he never told Holmes to omit anything from his police report.

The only person to support Holmes' story was his partner, Hamre. But it had been Holmes who spoke on the phone with Hutcheson. And it was Holmes who moved the gun and took the bullets.

Holmes and Hutcheson were both required to take polygraph tests. Each was asked whether Holmes had contacted Hutcheson that night to tell him what he had found in the apartment. Hutcheson said no. Holmes said yes. Both failed the polygraph test.

On July 21, 2006, Patrol Bureau Deputy Chief Kevin Masters recommended a five-day suspension for Hamre and an eight-day suspension for Hutcheson. Hutcheson's suspension was later overturned based on questionable results from his polygraph test. "I've received no discipline," Hutcheson told the Pitch. He declined to comment further.

As for Holmes, Masters wanted him fired. "I don't think Officer Holmes has the intelligence or common sense to understand his actions violated the rights of the individual and severely threatens the relationship of this department and the overall community we serve," Masters wrote in a letter that summed up the two-month internal-affairs investigation. "I don't think Officer Holmes understands the fact that his actions were inappropriate and, if placed in a similar situation, I think he would respond with similar decisions."

Police Chief Jim Corwin agreed with Masters' recommendation to fire Holmes.

On August 29, 2006, Capt. Don Sight showed up at Holmes' house to collect his badge. Holmes was placed on unpaid leave. He decided to fight the charges and requested a public hearing before the Board of Police Commissioners. Such hearings are rare. Usually, cops would rather quit.

Holmes' hearing began at 9 a.m. on March 8 in a sixth-floor boardroom at police headquarters. Holmes sat at a folding table. He wore a black suit and a tie with an aqua-colored pattern. His face was somber and mostly expressionless as his name and actions were brought up over and over again.

The Fraternal Order of Police assigned him an attorney, Luke Harkins. Lawyer James Rawls acted as the prosecutor. Mark Berger, a University of Missouri-Kansas City law professor, served as the judge. Berger will make a recommendation to the Board of Police Commissioners whether to uphold Holmes' firing.

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